Pirates' Prisoner

by Mrs. Peyton


I chose to read about being a pirate's prisoner for an interesting reason. Every year, Mrs. Arbuckle uses the word "booty" as an example for glossary terms. I really wanted to read the rest of the book because she makes it sound so funny! What I liked the most about this book is finding out how pirates REALLY lived. What I liked the least is finding out how gross and disgusting living on a pirate ship can be. The most interesting piece of information I found was the many different ways prisoners can be tortured.


Pirates sailed the open seas looking for ships to attack. Pirates would board a ship and look for money or treasure that they could steal. Pirates would also look for people who were important in a government or rich. They would capture these people and keep them as prisoners. Prisoners were kept in the ship's hold (cargo area). When the prisoner was put in the ship's hold, shackles were put around their wrists and ankles. They were surrounded by sea water and rats.


Prisoners were tortured in many ways mostly because pirates wanted information from those that they held prisoners. Prisoners might have been whipped with a Cat 'O Nine tails with hooks or musket ball endings. Prisoners were thrown overboard and used as target practice by other shipmates.


Prisoners were abandoned for one of two reasons: they got all of the information they needed from you OR you were sick and dying.
Sickness usually came from being weak. Prisoners could get scurvy, yellow fever, or gangrene. Scurvy is caused by a vitamin C deficiency and can make people tired and have spots on their gums. Yellow fever is caused by mosquito bites and causes people to have fever, the chills, or lose their appetite. Gangrene happens when a person's open wounds get infected. In most cases, the body part that is infected is amputated.
If you were abandoned, you might get left alone on a deserted island.


Malam, John. You Wouldn't Want to be a Pirate's Prisoner. New York, 2002.

Ewen, Charles R. "Pirate." World Book Student. World Book, 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.